First3Years Grows With Addition of Two New Staff Members

First3Years Grows With Addition of Two New Staff Members



(l-r) Talia Brinkman and Ariel Cooksey

First3Years is excited to announce the addition of Talia Brinkman, Director of Programs, and Ariel Cooksey, Safe Babies Tarrant County Coordinator, to its full-time staff. Both Talia and Ariel bring to First3Years a wealth of experience in nonprofit work and advocacy for families and children.

“Over the last several years, we have grown from a staff of two to seven,” says Sadie Funk, Executive Director. “I’m excited for what this means for positively impacting the lives of infants and toddlers and their families.”

As Director of Programs, Talia Brinkman is supervising the programming team, strategizing on program development and evaluation, assisting with marketing and grants, and working with other collaborative groups in the community. She received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt and has a Masters in Child and Family Policy from Tufts University. Her background includes working with both nonprofits and government organizations like United Way, Lumin Education, and the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care developing policies, programs, and systems that support young children and their families.

“I’m a strong believer in translating research into policies and programs, and I am excited to be a part of a team that does this so effectively,” says Talia. “I also really value working with other groups who have similar goals, so I’m looking forward to representing First3Years at various community collaborations that align with our mission.”

Ariel Cooksey is part of a pivotal program for First3Years: Safe Babies Tarrant County. As the Coordinator for SBTC, Ariel works with stakeholders, service providers, and child placement agencies to ensure that decisions affecting infants and toddlers in the child welfare system are developmentally informed. Through this collaborative, systematic approach, First3Years seeks to lessen the impact of abuse and neglect on these children, leading to better child welfare outcomes. Ariel has worked with Girl Scouts of the USA and Catholic Charities, and is a candidate for a Ph.D. in Sociology with a focus in Family and Social Psychology at Texas Woman’s University.

“First3Years’ Safe Babies Tarrant County program marries all of my interests and passions into an initiative that can help to save lives, reduce trauma, and empower parents and caregivers to be the best they can be,” says Ariel. “Our hope is that the program can be replicated across the state of Texas. I am extremely confident it will be successful, and look forward to sharing our progress.”

As the staff of First3Years grows, so does its ability to reach more professionals and children across the state. “The addition of Ariel and Talia to the team will enrich our collective expertise,” says Sadie. “They will help leverage the ground that’s been broken in providing relevant, high-quality training to professionals, creating systemic change within child welfare, and setting the stage for the next level of collaborative work.”